Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has explained why Rico Lewis is among the best he’s ever coached.
The 18-year-old started and completed the full 90 minutes as the European champions ran out 3-1 winners at RB Leipzig on matchday two of this season’s Champions League group phase.
Lewis, who has seldom featured in this campaign, had a hand in Phil Foden’s opening goal but they were pegged back through Lois Openda before Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku combined for City’s second and third goals.
However it was Lewis, who played in midfield and not in his usual right-back position, Guardiola lauded post-match.
What Pep Guardiola said about Rico Lewis:
Q: We’ve not seen as much of Rico Lewis as you have in training. Wow. What can you say about that performance tonight?
PG: Wow! It’s the same answer. He’s an amazing player, his understanding. I’ve been a manager for many, many years… not many years, fourteen, fifteen years, and have been lucky to train the best players in the world in Barcelona, at Bayern Munich and here. To find a player who moves really well in the middle, in the pockets or holding midfield, or full-back coming inside, it’s difficult to find that.
He’s just eighteen years old, has a huge personality. He can play in four, five positions. He’s not scared, his defending is really good. Maybe we don’t have a lot of consideration because maybe he needs a little bit, you know, two more [inches in height]. But apart from that, because mum and dad didn’t give him the genetics to be taller, he has everything and he’s a fantastic player.
Full interview with Pep Guardiola after City’s 3-1 win at RB Leipzig. Man can’t get enough of Rico Lewis (and I can’t blame him!) pic.twitter.com/jzMUliwTZD
— Archie Rhind-Tutt (@archiert1) October 4, 2023
Guardiola later added: “[Lewis] is a humble guy, doesn’t talk much, but has the appreciation of all his mates. He didn’t play much this season – last season he was a key point and helped us understand what we should do in our build-up. Today was proof again.
“This season he hasn’t played as much but he is going to play a lot.”
A graduate of City’s esteemed youth set-up, Lewis broke into his boyhood club’s first team last term. To date, he’s made no fewer than 29 appearances in all competitions and both of his goal contributions have come in Europe’s premier club competition. Lewis scored at home against Sevilla in November 2022 before creating Foden’s aforementioned goal, which made him City’s youngest assister in the Champions League.